When I found out that I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait for the cravings to kick in and eat whatever I want without feeling guilty. Did I get to do that? I will talk about it at the end of this post. First, let’s see about the best food to eat during pregnancy. Pregnant or not, it’s always better to eat a well-balanced diet.
Best Food To Eat When You Are Pregnant!
You need to be a little extra careful and conscious about your food intake when you’re pregnant. You can eat your regular diet without much restriction when you’re pregnant. However, you need to incorporate folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, DHA for you to be healthy and for the baby’s growth. So it advisable to intake food with such nutrients.
Fruits and Vegetables
It’s a no-brainer that you need to include fruits and vegetables in your pregnancy diet. The best thing to do is to procure seasonal fruits and vegetables from your local market. A few options you can consider are:
Oranges – these are a great source of vitamin C and folic acid.
Bananas – this potassium-rich food can give you instant energy. Bananas are rich in fiber that can help to relieve constipation which is very common during pregnancy.
Pomegranate – rich in iron, calcium, and folate, a must-have for pregnant women.
Watermelon – with the increase in temperature, watermelon is the best source to keep you hydrated. Melons are also rich in minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Along with these, you can also incorporate other easily available fruits like apples, guavas, and chikus.
Leafy vegetables – like spinach are high in calcium and iron. It also helps in increasing hemoglobin levels in pregnant women.
Sweet potatoes – contain beta carotenes which our body can convert into vitamin A. It’s not advisable to intake vitamin A in excess during pregnancy, but it’s a requirement for the baby’s development. Our body converts only the required amount of vitamin A through beta carotenes, so it’s completely safe.
Carrot and beetroot – adding colors to your diet. Carrots are also a source of beta carotenes, so it helps in vitamin A intake. It also strengthens the immune system. Beetroots are rich in iron which prevents anemia during pregnancy.
Consider adding other locally available green vegetables such as ridge gourd, bottle gourd, green peas (if in season), watery vegetables such as pumpkin, cucumber to your diet.
Egg, Meat, and Fish
We all know eggs are rich in protein which makes them a must-have in your pregnancy diet. Apart from protein, it has iron, folate, vitamin D, vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids, and choline (which helps in the baby’s brain development).
It’s better to stick to lean meat during pregnancy. Lean meat can be the best food to eat during pregnancy for protein intake. It also supplements iron that anemia, a prevalent ailment during pregnancy, can be prevented. It gets a little tricky when it comes to eating fish during pregnancy. Fish that are rich in protein also has DHA, which makes them a must-have during pregnancy. However, certain fishes have high mercury content, that it’s better to limit your seafood intake when you’re pregnant.
It includes – lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, soybeans, and the likes. They are rich in fiber, protein, iron, calcium, folate and have no cholesterol. They can keep your blood sugar level in check and are potent antioxidants as well. You can add legumes to any recipe, making it easier for you to consume every day of your pregnancy.
We have already established that calcium intake is necessary during pregnancy. Generally, milk is considered a rich source of calcium. But if you’re lactose intolerant or just not feeling like drinking milk, you can consider taking probiotics food. Probiotics can also help keep your gut healthy, promote digestion, and prevent any complications related to the stomach.
Yogurt/curd, paneer, buttermilk, idli/dosa made from fermented batter are all considered sources of probiotics. You can also have leftover rice soaked in water the next morning. This fermented rice is rich in iron, calcium, and potassium. It also helps regulate body temperature.
Nuts, Seeds, and Dry fruits
If you’re health-conscious, you already know the benefits of nuts, seeds, and dry fruits. Almonds, walnuts, cashews, dried apricots, dried figs, dates, raisins, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are the safe options for pregnant women. They are rich in iron, fiber, folate, omega fatty acids, which are not only healthy for pregnant women but also aids in the brain development of the baby. You can have these as it is or add it to your salad/ smoothie bowls. The best thing is, nuts, seeds, and dry fruits make a filling and healthy snack whenever you’ve hunger pangs. Make sure there’s no added sugar in the dry fruits, and the nuts and seeds are not roasted. Also, check for allergies before consuming any nuts.
Though we have mentioned that it’s better to eat seasonal and locally available food, if you can get hold of avocado, berries, and broccoli, you can include these in your pregnancy diet. Packed with nutrients, these are definitely pregnancy superfoods.
Let’s bust a few myths now, shall we? It’s often told that you have to eat for two, when you’re pregnant, you and the baby. It’s a myth. You need not have more food. All you need to have is a well-balanced diet with nutritious food which is of standard quantity. The baby can very well intake the nutrients from that. Also, it’s completely okay if you do not have any food cravings during pregnancy. I was that person. I didn’t have any food cravings, and thanks to my nausea, I grew an aversion towards even the food I generally like. Just keep in mind that every pregnancy is different, and it’s completely okay if you’re not experiencing something similar to others.
Lastly, intake lots of water/fluids, and whenever in doubt about any food intake, consult your doctor or nutritionist.